Skip to content

Labour MEPs: Unless the Commission takes strong action now, more migrant lives will be lost

Category: Articles-General.
Posted: Wednesday 13 May 2015

After the harrowing scale of deaths in the Mediterranean on 19 April, two concerns were highlighted: first, the need for search and rescue - on par with the former Mare Nostrum operation - and second, realistic commitments to resettlement.

Labour MEPs welcome the Commission's commitment to increasing the operational area of Triton, which, together with a tripling of its funding and an increase in vessels for operations, gives Frontex every opportunity to save those in distress at sea. However, the new operational area has not been clarified and if it is not on par with the distances covered by Mare Nostrum, this will be an empty gesture and lives will be lost.

Labour MEPs agree that the proposed action to target smugglers' boats is fraught with difficulties and could harm the lives of vulnerable migrants. It may, if not managed with extreme care, put EU countries deeper into a conflict zone. We need far clearer detail about what would happen after such an option is pursued, and that detail does not exist at present.

There is high political support for military action against smugglers associated with Libya but low support for relocation and resettlement policy. The EU’s answer to the humanitarian crisis cannot be a de facto defence policy. It is therefore up to the Commission, with Parliament's cooperation, to push for relocation and resettlement policies which are responsible and fairly distributed.

Labour MEPs welcome the Commission’s proposal for an EU-wide resettlement scheme. This will provide refugees with a compassionate, measured alternative to the deadly smugglers' routes across the Mediterranean. In addition, they also welcome the start of the discussion on legal migration routes; however, this is too little too late. We need a bolder strategy on what legal routes may be available for managed migration into the EU. The EU needs a comprehensive set of legal migration policy proposals that legislate for low waged migrants, protecting their rights, giving a safe and legal route of entry and ensuring local wages are not undercut.

The Commission must get credit for a strong, if in some areas incomplete, reaction to one of the most critical human problems facing the EU. It is the job of the European Parliament to point out that the EU member states have shown contempt for solidarity and responsibility sharing. We must now, together, ensure comprehensive and compassionate action on the Mediterranean migrant crisis.

 

Posted by: Admin on Wednesday 13 May 2015

Return to previous page